Technology3 November 2020
The Journey of Music from Tape Players to Spotify
The history of music is a totally different subject, but the history of consumption technologies is quite a story. Almost all of the cassette players we used to carry around in our daily lives are either in a collection somewhere or are completely forgotten. However, these devices changed the lives of a generation and altered the experience of listening to music when they were first launched. The Walkman came after these devices and MP3 players followed right after. These devices, which were extremely important in their day, are almost completely forgotten nowadays. Even though the days of these devices were not that long ago, today we mostly use online streaming applications like Spotify on our smart phones to listen to music. This way, we can listen to music anywhere and anytime we want.
Cassette recordings started in the 1960’s together with the magnetic sound recorder devices. Cassette players were then manufactured as a supplementary item. The most popular cassette players were the ones with two spaces for playing and recording. Remembering back will also bring back the memories of amount of time spend on cassettes. As a new work line, cassette shops also emerged in those days and affected people’s lives for many years. Mixed tapes and recordings with announcements departed from our lives together with these shops.
In 1979, famous Japanese brand Sony introduced the Walkman, marking the beginning of a revolution of the upcoming years. Walkman introduced the idea of listening to music through headphones, which revolutionized how people listened to music. We were no longer required to stay put while listening to music; now, we could carry it around with us. This iconic device is still accepted as Sony’s greatest success in its history. Sony sold exactly 31 million Walkman devices in 31 years. The reign of CDs that came after the cassettes would be much shorter. With the improvement of web waves, MP3 files came shortly thereafter.
First MP3 players were not cheap to buy with a lower-than-expected memory space, but we started to see these devices everywhere, used by everyone. With a smaller and more compact design than the Walkman, MP3 players enabled people to carry around more songs with them. The most remembered device of this era was Apple’s iconic MP3 player named the iPod.
As the zipped music files conquered the music industry, the increase in illegal music sharing created the legal streaming media after a while. Streaming platforms that allow people to listen to numerous songs with a single membership instead of illegal music sharing are based on paying a certain copyright fee to the artists. These websites that are also known as “music libraries” allow you to listen to or download the songs. By becoming a member to one of these platforms, you can carry all the different music genres around the world in your pocket. You can also listen to your personalized playlists. The most famous of these platforms is Spotify with over 270 million users and 125 million members around the world. A cassette could record only up to 12 songs, whereas Spotify allows you to carry the whole music archive of the world in your pocket. What do you say? Have many things changed since the cassette players?